if you follow me on instagram, you might have seen that we are expecting our first child in november. i don’t personally believe in the idea of being blessed, but i do feel such gratitude for this baby i’m growing right now because it feels like it took us so long to get to this point.
specifically, we tried for a little under two years to get pregnant before we finally had success. i know it may not seem like much time when compared to other couples, but we had tests done and there was nothing “wrong” with my husband and nothing apparently “wrong” with me, which made things all the more frustrating. why was it taking so long? i was 26 and otherwise quite healthy when we started trying, so it’s not like i was “too old” or had a condition that would have made conception difficult. yet there we were, month after month of diligently trying with no success.
i got acupuncture for the better part of 2017 and took the accompanying chinese herbs, tried two rounds of 한약 from our 한의원 in atlanta, changed my diet and exercise routine, did tons of reading and research, and tracked my cycle and symptoms religiously, all to no avail. it was only when i quit my job at the end of last year that i got pregnant (less than two months later). was it stress from work that had been standing in the way? or had we simply been trying for so long that we eventually got lucky?
in the time that we had been trying, it seemed like everyone on my social media and in my real life were getting pregnant and having babies of their own. my first response was always jealousy: were they even trying? why can’t it happen to me too? why is everything so unfair? (tbh i got kind of angsty there for a while). but when i heard some of their stories, i realized that most women don’t talk openly about trying to conceive, and that unless they feel safe sharing their struggles, there’s no way of knowing how much trouble someone might have gone through to get to the point of a public pregnancy announcement. perhaps their pregnancy had been the result of years of trying or had happened with the assistance of medical interventions or had followed the painful loss of a miscarriage. i eventually abandoned my angst when i realized how unfair it is to rush to any kind of judgments about anyone’s personal journey. after all, pregnancy isn’t a finite resource. we aren’t competing to get pregnant, and difficulty doing so is not something we should be made to feel ashamed of.
other women’s pregnancy announcements aside, i think the main reason the past two years were so challenging for me was because of how taboo the topic of sex and pregnancy were during my formative years. i grew up believing that pregnancy was the automatic result of sex, that it was all too easy to get pregnant, and that, unless you met the socially acceptable circumstances of being a married adult, getting pregnant was the worst thing you could do. i thought that if i had sex, i would get pregnant, and if i got pregnant, my life would be ruined. my fear of sex had led to a disgust with and mistrust of my body for my entire life, and caused me to be always walking on eggshells, terrified that one wrong move would destroy everything. so when i actually wanted to get pregnant, i was shocked to discover that it really wasn’t all that easy. nothing had prepared me for how hard it might be to get pregnant, and this realization made me angry. i am still angry about it now.
the limited sex education i had received from my family and my school meant that i had many gaps in my knowledge. over the past two years, i have learned so many things about my body and my health that i wish i had been told when i was much younger. it has been amazing and kind of rad to learn exactly how my body works, but at the same time I am so sad that I had not gotten this information sooner, and that i had to learn it from a nameless, faceless internet.
during the past few years, i was more often than not in a pretty low place, and to work through my feelings, i drew. i decided to share those drawings here on this blog and write this post because, at least where i live, we do not talk about women’s bodies and fertility in an open or positive way and i think that adding my own thoughts and experiences is one way to contribute to the conversation. even though it did not take me as long as it took other couples, even though my story ends with eventually getting pregnant, even though, even though, even though—my story and my journey is just as valid as the next person’s and it’s just as worthy of sharing. so to that end, every pregnancy-related cartoon i drew over the past two years are saved under the “stories” —> “starting a family” menu if you’re interested in reading them. and, as a reward for making it this far, here’s the first ultrasound of our little babe. i know i’m biased but i think it’s pretty cute.